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|| Partial or complete
tear of the medial collateral ligament
and X-ray of a Normal Knee
||The MCL is a strong band of tissue on the
inside part of the knee. This ligament helps prevent outward
movement of the leg at the knee and is often injured in football and
||Any motion that forcefully moves the leg
outward at the knee can cause an MCL sprain. Also, a hard blow to
the outside part of the lower thigh can buckle a knee inward,
injuring the MCL.
MCL injuries are sometimes suffered in combination with ACL,
||MCL injuries typically result in
pain--accompanied by mild to moderate swelling--along the inside
part of the knee. Left untreated, MCL injuries may produce a
sensation of instability, similar to a broken table leg, at the
MCL sprains are classified by physical exam into three grades:
Grade I sprain: Ligament stretch, pain along ligament
Grade II sprain: Partial tear, mildly decreased stability
Grade III sprain: Complete tear, significantly abnormal
X-rays are done to rule out fractures. Occasionally, an MRI will be
done to rule out other ligament or cartilage injuries.
of Normal and Torn Medial Collateral Ligaments
||Nonoperative: Fortunately, most
MCL injuries can be treated without surgery. Grade I and II injuries
are treated with rest, use of a brace followed by a physical therapy
program. Many grade III injuries may also be treated in this
Operative: MCL injuries that occur in combination
with other ligament injuries may require surgical repair.
Fortunately, the need for surgery for this type of injury is rare.
Keeping your leg muscles in excellent shape may help prevent some
MCL sprains. Braces designed to help prevent MCL injuries in
football players have not proven to be effective.